For the past month or so, we’ve been in a bit of a rough season.
Rett, our 12-month-old, cut all of his molars, completely weaned even from bottles, learned to walk, and started talking, all within the span of a few weeks. The onslaught of transitions one on top of the other has left him super-clingy, incredibly whiny, and just “off.” He’s finding a new balance, but until he’s comfortable with these new major milestones, he’s in a season of hardship, and therefore so are the rest of us.
The start of the school year also brought unanticipated parenting difficulties with our 2 year old. As the Hubs and I have showered our oldest with accolades as he’s progressing through his studies, we think Luke has felt a dearth of attention directed his way. Combined with Rett’s extra needs, we’re actually positive that a lack of attention has caused Luke to act out with discipline and behavior issues that are bringing him sharply into our focus….alas with negative attention.
So here we are, each of us in our family going through a season of growth and transition, stumbling and fumbling and trying to find our way to more level ground.
Some days I handle everything just fine. And some days I feel like motherhood is crushing me – suffocating me – emptying me in ways too big for me to handle.
Yesterday was one of those days. It was actually a “first” in my motherhood because it’s the first time I’ve ever called my husband at work sobbing. Literally crying to the point of choking on my tears.
It was just after 1pm and I was trying to get Rett calmed and settled down for his nap. While I was rocking him in the nursery, my two unsupervised toddlers downstairs got into a fight over a toy. With all my windows open on that gorgeous afternoon, my two sons attacked each other with screams that could wake the dead. They were knocking furniture over, kicking, yelling, biting, throwing. I sat in the nursery listening to all you-know-what break loose in my family room, so I put Rett in his crib (he promptly started shrieking. Of course) and flew down the stairs to find Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed duking it out.
Surveying my destroyed first floor, my screaming toddlers, and listening to the shrieks of Baby Bear upstairs, was the straw that snapped the last thread of patience I had. And I started sobbing.
When I called my husband, I told him that I truly didn’t think I was capable of mothering these three boys anymore. I just didn’t have enough patience, enough multitasking abilities, enough this or that to keep it together, to make them happy, to take care of each of their (MANY!) needs all at the same time.
My husband was wise and calm and reminded me of deep truths and practical facts. I’ll share more on that conversation another day, but what I want to share today is that I walked away from yesterday’s tumultuous afternoon thinking “we got through that, tomorrow is another day, I’ll do better, the kids will be better, we’ll make it through this season, I’ve got this.”
And then after getting up this morning with the thought “today is a new day and a fresh start and I’m going to make it better,” I read a few verses from St. Paul, and a single blog post from Ruth Simons while I drank my coffee. WHAM.
I was knocked over the head with the reality that here I am thinking I can make things better on my own strength. I think if I try harder, learn my lessons, get more organized, get up earlier, do something – ANYTHING – better, that life for our whole family will be better.
Without realizing it, I’ve come to rely on my own strength for my motherhood, instead of falling completely into His.
Moms, if you read one blog posts today, or this month, I hope you make it Ruth Simon’s post “Dear Mom Who is Trying.” She’s a mother of six boys and wow – she gets it, and she has such wisdom to share.
I recently wrote about a different hard day for our family, and a reader wrote this in the comments just this afternoon:
Thank you, even though I feel bad that you had a rough time, I really enjoy seeing this side of you. One thing that you wrote here really struck me particularly, and in part probably because I’m also having some of those shit awful days here myself. I think it’s interesting how in your rant to your husband, you mentioned the question “how do I sanctify this?” In the end you’re talking about Christ sanctifying us. It was a good reminder to me that that’s the fundamental difference in thinking that needs to take place when we are in those difficult times: it’s not about me sanctifying myself with my own actions, but it’s about Christ sanctifying whatever I have to offer.
YES, of course I was talking about Christ sanctifying my day and my hardships. But I think my wording mistake “how do I sanctify this?” shows a deeper problem in my heart. A failure to realize that trying to succeed in motherhood on my own strength is going to fail. Every.single.time. Only in His grace, His strength, His comfort, is my motherhood ever going to be right.
Be encouraged today, Mamas. Because even when it’s really really hard, motherhood is not a job that’s up to us to handle.
He’s got this.